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Dan Carter, author, on
Wallace's college years

Dan Carter Q:Talk about Johnson and Wallace in college.

A: You think about the 1930s. George Wallace arrives on campus. he literally has two shirts and a pair of slacks -- he's an outsider in every way. He meets Ruth and Frank Johnson there from up-country Alabama, but even though their background is different, they're the same in some ways. They're people who are not part of that governing elite at the University of Alabama. And there's a kind of tie that draws them and other friends together when they do that. The first time Ruth Johnson saw George Wallace, he was standing on a soapbox running against the fraternities, running against the elites that controlled that university. And she said then she realized that they had so much in common. They had the same kind of ideals -- to open up the system that had controlled both the university and the state for so long. And it was more than that. They were all products of the 1930s, the New Deal, politics opening up in Alabama, and they felt a kind of kinship that grew into a really close friendship that continued throughout college.

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